I won't sell my Arsenal stake, says Usmanov

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The Independent Football

Alisher Usmanov, the Russian industrial magnate, says he has no intention of selling his stake in Arsenal to Stan Kroenke. Usmanov confirmed yesterday that he will keep his 27 per cent holding after the American secured a controlling interest in the club earlier this week.

Kroenke took his share to 63 per cent at the weekend to trigger a mandatory offer but Usmanov, who has a fortune estimated at $17.7bn (£11bn), will not let go of his stake, which is valued at £198m, a decision welcomed by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust, which holds a three per cent share through its much-praised Fanshare scheme. Usmanov told Bloomberg: "I'm not going to sell my stake. I love Arsenal, that's why I'm a shareholder. My principle in regard to Arsenal is that it cannot do without me."

Usmanov, who does not have a seat on the board, sought to stop Kroenke's deal to buy out Nina Bracewell-Smith on Sunday and is reported to have been unhappy by the decision of Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman to sell.

"The board of Arsenal always held the position that none of the shareholders should take control over the company," Usmanov added yesterday. "That is why I never [made] any offer to increase my stake [to] more than 50 per cent. But probably something has changed, to my surprise."

Arsenal last night announced the death of Fiszman, a director since 1992. The 66-year-old had been ill for some time and had wanted to settle his involvement in the club before he died.